November 09, 2015

SAN DIEGO (AP) Philip Rivers is playing the best football of his career.

Too bad the rest of the San Diego Chargers aren't coming along for the ride.

Rivers is on pace to rewrite the San Diego Chargers' season passing records, thanks to a five-game stretch in which he's thrown for 1,863 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The Chargers have lost four straight, including a 27-20 gut-wrenching loss at Green Bay in which he threw for a career-best 503 yards.

Their free-fall has left the Chargers at 2-6. Barring a miracle finish, they'll miss the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.

San Diego hosts the equally woeful Chicago Bears (2-5) on Monday night.

Rivers is usually the eternal optimist. But even he knows what a perilous spot the Chargers are in.

''I think you have to really right now just get excited about playing the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football and really think about nothing else than that,'' he said. ''Don't think about our record, don't think about what's to come. We have the bye after. We play the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.''

Rivers leads the NFL with 243 completions, 348 attempts and 2,753 yards. He's on pace to break his team record for completions (379) and Hall of Famer Dan Fouts' marks for attempts (609) and yards (4,802).

Until the Chargers are mathematically eliminated, Rivers will believe there's a chance.

''As quickly as we lost four in a row we could win four in a row. But we've got to win one first,'' he said. ''It's been a rough month, to say the least. There's no denying it's tough. We're going to keep fighting.

''Other than Minnesota and Oakland, it hasn't been just terrible in the 60 minutes we've been out there,'' he added. ''There's been a lot of good and we've had our chances. That's what makes it harder. We could very easily have a different record. But we don't.''

To make things worse, Rivers lost his favorite target, Keenan Allen, for the rest of the season due to a lacerated kidney. Allen was hurt crashing to the ground after making a spectacular touchdown catch in a loss at Baltimore last weekend.

The Bears are struggling, too. Star running back Matt Forte and receiver Eddie Royal - who played with the Chargers the last three years - have been ruled out of the game Monday night with knee injuries.

Meanwhile, Rivers and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler say there are no lingering issues from a trash-talking episode on Christmas Eve 2007, when the Chargers routed Cutler's Denver Broncos. Rivers and then-Chargers linebacker Shaun Philip were seen jawing at Cutler from the sideline.

''Shoot, I have no issues with Jay at all,'' Rivers said. ''There will be a normal handshake, just like with all the other quarterbacks. There are really no hard feelings there whatsoever. There weren't really any even that night, or after. Obviously the hype that ensued kind of built it up. ... So there's nothing malicious about it. But you look back and go, `That's crazy what was made of it.' In hindsight you wish it probably never happened, but it was certainly not the big deal that it turned into.''

Said Cutler: ''It was Christmas Eve and we were both battling for a playoff spot. I think they reeled off like four or five in a row to get to that point. It was just one of those things that stuck in people's minds. ... Over the years, I've gained a lot of respect for his game and the way that he plays. He's been a staple in the league for a long time and has put up huge numbers year-in and year-out. He's always fun to watch, always fun to play against.''


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